I’m connected to a bunch of writers on LinkedIn, including Alyssa Hunt, who describes herself as a “Book Reviewer, Blogger & Author.”
On November 12, she posted one of those personal iPhone memes or graphics or whatever you want to call them. I have no idea, since I don’t have an iPhone.
Regardless, the caption was: “Everybody’s finishing their novels, while I’m over here like…” And then it showed a picture of her iPhone persona hiding in an open jar of jelly.
To that, she added, “I’m so darned close! Maybe I’m a little bit paranoid, fearful, panicked, etc…”
Her post, intentionally silly though it was, gave me food for thought. So feast your writing eyes on the resulting spread below and see how satisfactory the results can be.
First off, major kudos to Alyssa for coming out and admitting what she admitted.
Unfortunately, many writers wouldn’t be that brave. Maybe even most writers wouldn’t be that brave when we all want to portray ourselves in the best possible light.
It’s much easier to think of ourselves as writing machines capable of effortlessly producing compelling first drafts that go on to not only make the New York Times’ bestsellers' list… but become major motion pictures too starring A-list celebrities like Scarlett Johannsen and Chris Pratt.
The writing force is strong in us, and nobody can dispute it.
It makes for a nice story that way. But that’s just it: a story. Fiction.
Reality involves some personalized, manuscript-by-manuscript mix of writer’s block, lack of motivation, lack of inspiration, lack of clarity and/or lack of confidence, all to produce a manuscript that will need to be edited at least five times before it’s fit to publish.
I don’t care how new you are to the process or how famous your authorial name is. That’s reality. Especially the last part.
You might have days, weeks or months where you are on an absolute writing streak. But your first draft is still going to need some serious work when you’re done.
Alyssa is just doing us all a favor and acknowledging the facts.
That’s the negative side of writing reality. And, admittedly, it doesn’t stop there. As Alyssa noted on LinkedIn, there’s also the paranoia, fear and panic associated with questions like:
Am I going to make an idiot out of myself with what I wrote?
Is my story good enough to put out there?
Am I good enough to put my story out there?
If you’re wondering any of that, you’re not alone. Every single writer becomes a shrinking violet at some point. It might even be their natural state of being.
But here’s the absolute honest truth…
If you have a story inside you that’s begging to be started, there’s a high chance it’s worth starting.
If you have a story you’ve started that’s begging to be continued, there’s a high chance it’s worth continuing.
If you have a story you’ve continued that’s begging to be finished, there’s a high chance it’s worth finishing.
And then editing. And editing again. And editing again.
And maybe even publishing.
So really, the only question worth considering right now is this: What are you waiting for?